The Open Sewer Theory of Policing

by Kerry Lutz
Financial Survival Network

Have you heard about San Francisco’s latest take on protecting the public? It’s a derivation of the Broken WIndows Theory of Policing, which believes that when police neglect minor crimes, such as broken windows and graffiti to take over a neighborhood, all manner of serious crime will proliferate, because abject neglect a signal to the criminal class that they will go unpunished. To reclaim a neighborhood, the police need to crack down on quality of life offenses thus informing the criminals that it’s time to move on .

With The Open Sewer Theory of Policing San Francisco has taken it one step further. It is being implemented at this very moment. It holds that if you allow vagrants to defecate on public sidewalks, harass passersby and allow them to shoot up drugs wherever they please, pretty soon your city will turn into an open cesspit.

There’s an epidemic in SF of public defecation and discarded needles. Just recently, a street urchin dumped 20 pounds of feces on a street corner, where it remained for a number of hours. Contrary to this being a rare occurrence, it happens 10’s of thousands of times per year and has been increasing at a rapid rate. The misguided lobotomized San Francisco mayor London Breed has just the solution, educate the homeless to clean up after themselves. It’s absolutely brilliant. Maybe we can train the homeless to bathe regularly and take their soiled clothing to the dry cleaner too. Perhaps it will be so effective, we can finally convince them that they’ll be better off living in a home than on the streets. Leave it to a liberal to fail to comprehend a problem and then propose education as the solution.

Ms. Breed just can’t see the value of enforcement in addressing public behavior problems. Which is no surprise, because people of her ilk believe that there is a constitutional right to homelessness. Who we are to argue when none other than SCOTUS has affirmed it. The overwhelming majority of homeless persons fall into 3 categories. 1) Chronic alcoholics who are so debilitated by the disease that they have ceased to function; 2) Drug Addicts similarly afflicted; 3) Insane lunatics who are unable to function or properly care for themselves. 4)There’s a much smaller category of the temporarily homeless who have fallen upon hard times and are trying desperately to remedy the situation. There appears to have been an alarming increase in category 4, but by all accounts they’re a relatively small portion of the total pie. For this group, statistics are often misleading. In many cities, families can bypass lengthy multi-year public housing wait lists by becoming homeless. Not having a home becomes a means to an end.

For nearly 100 years, the US had an effective means of dealing with homeless chronic substance abusers/alcoholics/insane persons. It may not have been compassionate and it was often inhumane, but it did stop people from living on the streets. Civil commitment into sanitariums or asylums kept them from living and dysfunctioning on the public highways and byways. Abuse happened all too often; numerous scandals of the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest variety were often exposed. Geraldo Rivera built his career on exposing maltreatment at the NY’s Willowbrook State Hospital.

Numerous laws and court cases drastically curtailed the right of states to involuntarily confine such people. Even Ronald Reagan, while governor of California, joined the fray and reduced the state’s asylum population. The hope was that upon, an infrastructure of community mental health clinics would magically appear and help these people stay sober/sane. However it never happened. In 1955 approximately 560,000 people were housed in mental hospitals. Today there is less 45,000. ( And the US population has nearly doubled since the mentally ill were unleashed upon our communities.

The standard for commitment almost become impossible to meet. To be committed against one’s will, there must be a hearing where the state proves that a person is an imminent threat to themselves or others. Judges often go out of their way to avoid seeing such threats. Homelessness needs to be seen as an imminent threat to society and the individual embarking upon it. Living on the streets is among the most dangerous activities one can undertake. The poor hapless souls are subjected to the worst elements of society. Women are raped and beaten. Robberies and vicious assaults are common place. Early death comes often. Where’s the humanity in turning these people out into the hell of street living?

And left to the streets, the mentally ill will see their conditions greatly worsen. They often progress into violent threats against the communities they inhabit. They harass residents for money, become violent when refused and no doubt attract more serious criminals to the neighborhood.

The sad part is that many times this behavior can be controlled. Large numbers of homeless have been successfully treated through ever improving psychotropic medication protocols. However, our compassionate courts have ruled over and over again that the mentally ill cannot be forcibly medicated, even if the alternative is violent schizophrenic episodes that threaten the public and the individual too. Isn’t it great to know that the liberal elite are watching out for the most helpless among us and protecting their right to insanity?

The key to solving this problem is to loosen the commitment standards and assign every such person an advocate or guardian. The massive homeless budgets ($40,000 per homeless person alone in SF) can be reallocated towards rebuilding mental hospitals and repopulating them. They can be privatized and government can stay out of running these hospitals, except where the criminally insane are concerned.

This is the most humane approach that will enable cities to reclaim their streets and control this intractable issue, and perhaps most importantly, fulfill their primary obligation of keeping the people safe.

Would the immigrants of the last century have made the long journey to America if they believed the streets were paved with excrement? Let’s force our ineffective, effete leaders to stop this madness now.


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